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Roanoke College
Motto "palmam qui meruit ferat" ("let him who earns the palm wear it")[1]
Established 1842
Type Private, liberal arts
President Michael C. Maxey
Faculty 120
Undergraduates 2,000
Location Salem, Virginia, USA
Campus Suburban
Nickname Maroons
Mascot Rooney (a maroon-tailed hawk)
Roanoke College has six buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places including the Administration Building (center), Miller Hall (left), and Trout Hall (right)

Roanoke College is an independent, private, coeducational, four-year liberal-arts college affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The college is located in Salem, Virginia, a suburban independent city adjacent to Roanoke, Virginia. Established in 1842, Roanoke is the second oldest Lutheran-affiliated college in the United States.

Roanoke has approximately 2,000 students (55% female, 45% male) who represent approximately 40 states and 25 countries. The college offers 34 majors, 30 minors, 20 concentrations, and pre-professional programs in law, medicine, dentistry, engineering, and ministry. Roanoke awards bachelor's degrees in arts, science, and business administration and is one of 276 colleges with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society.

Roanoke is an NCAA Division III school competing in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. The college fields varsity teams in nine men's and ten women's sports. Roanoke's athletic nickname is Maroons and the mascot is Rooney, a maroon-tailed hawk.




Early years

Roanoke College was founded in 1842 as a boys' preparatory school by Lutheran pastors David F. Bittle and Christopher C. Baughmann.[2] Originally located in Augusta County near Staunton, the school was named Virginia Institute until chartered on January 30, 1845 as Virginia Collegiate Institute.[3] In 1847, the institute moved to Salem which was developing into a center of commerce and transportation in the region; the school moved all of its possessions in a single covered wagon. The Virginia General Assembly granted a college charter on March 14, 1853 and approved the name Roanoke College, chosen in honor of the Roanoke Valley.[3] Bittle then served as the college's first president.

Roanoke was one of the few Southern colleges that remained open throughout the American Civil War.[4][5] The student body was organized into a corps of cadets and fought with Confederate forces near Salem in December 1863.[6] The students were outmatched and quickly forced to surrender, but the Union commander allowed them to return to their studies in exchange for a promise to put down their arms.[7] The college company was formally mustered into the Confederate Army, Virginia Reserves, on September 1, 1864, but the students did not see combat before the war ended.[8] A monument honoring Salem's Confederate soldiers, dedicated in 1909 by the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, is on the grounds of the former Roanoke County courthouse, which is now a college academic building.[9]

International students

Roanoke enrolled its first international students in the late 1800s; the first Mexican student in 1876 and the first Japanese student in 1888.[10][11] The first Korean to graduate from an American college or university, Surh Beung Kiu, graduated in 1898.[12]


Roanoke became coeducational in 1930 when women were admitted to counter a decline in male enrollment caused by the Great Depression. A small number of women were previously offered limited admission, but not as degree seeking students. Most were from Elizabeth College, a sister Lutheran women's college in Salem that burned in 1921; the students finished the 1921-1922 academic year at Roanoke.[13] The first women's residence hall, Smith Hall, opened in 1941. Roanoke's student body is now more than fifty percent female.

Roanoke adopted the alumnae of Marion College, a sister Lutheran women's college in Marion, Virginia, when it closed in 1967. Marion Hall, a large residence hall constructed in 1968, honors the college and its alumnae.

National championships

Roanoke athletic teams have won two national championships: the 1972 NCAA Division II men's basketball championship and the 1978 Division II men's lacrosse championship. Roanoke's third national championship occurred in 2001 when student Casey Smith won an individual championship in the Division III women's 10,000m track and field event. In 2009, student Robin Yerkes secured Roanoke's fourth national championship when she won an individual championship in the Division III women's 400m track and field event.[14]

Recent years

Roanoke experienced exceptional growth in the 1980s and 1990s.[15][16] Two strategic plans, the 1992 Sesquicentennial Campaign and the 2002 Plan, also known as "The Difference", were successfully completed with well over $150 million raised. The campaigns financed the renovation and construction of numerous facilities including the library, the student center, and the arts and performance center.

Roanoke's tenth president, and first female president, Dr. Sabine O'Hara, took office in August 2004. O'Hara, an expert in sustainable economic development, was recruited to lead formulation of a new strategic plan, one that would advance the college into the next decade. In March 2006, Roanoke unveiled "The 2015 Plan",[17][18] which calls for expanded academic offerings, an increase in enrollment from 1,900 to 2,100 students, renovation and construction of facilities to support increased enrollment, and growth in endowment resources to support financial aid for more students. Successful completion of the plan is ongoing; 2,006 students were enrolled for fall semester 2007, the most in college history, and four new residence halls have opened since 2005.

New leadership

On March 16, 2007, Dr. Sabine O'Hara, Roanoke's tenth president, announced her resignation effective June 30, 2007. O'Hara told the college community that she had accomplished her primary objective at Roanoke by unveiling "The 2015 Plan", the college's current strategic plan, and that new leadership could better achieve the articulated goals. O'Hara's three-year tenure as president was short, but productive; four new residence halls were constructed, two academic buildings were renovated, a new sports stadium opened, records were set for applications and enrollment, and the tradition of balanced budgets was continued (as of O'Hara's departure, Roanoke had a balanced budget for 52 consecutive years).

Michael C. Maxey became Roanoke's eleventh president on July 1, 2007. Maxey previously served as Roanoke's vice president for college relations and dean of admissions and financial aid from 1992 until his selection as president. Roanoke received a record number of applications nine times during Maxey's tenure as vice president, and in May 2007, graduated 410 students, the largest class at that time in college history. In lieu of naming an interim president while a national search was conducted to replace O'Hara, the board of trustees unanimously elected Maxey to become Roanoke's eleventh president.

President Maxey presided over commencement for the first time on May 3, 2008. Roanoke graduated 421 students, the largest class in college history. On May 2, 2009, Roanoke graduated another record class of 439 students, the largest in college history.[19]


David F. Bittle, first Principal of Virginia Institute and first President of Roanoke College

Principals of Virginia Institute, 1842-1853

  • David F. Bittle, 1842-1845
  • Christopher C. Baughman, 1845-1853

Presidents of Roanoke College, 1853-present

  • David F. Bittle, 1853-1876
  • Thomas W. Dosh, 1877-1878
  • Julius D. Dreher, 1878-1903
  • John A. Morehead, 1903-1920
  • Charles J. Smith, 1920-1949
  • H. Sherman Oberly, 1949-1963
  • Perry F. Kendig, 1963-1975
  • Norman D. Fintel, 1975-1989
  • David M. Gring, 1989-2004
  • Sabine U. O'Hara, 2004-2007
  • Michael C. Maxey, 2007

Lutheran heritage

Bittle Hall

Established in 1842, Roanoke is the second oldest (Gettysburg College is the oldest) Lutheran-affiliated college in the United States and is associated with three synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; the Virginia Synod, the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod, and the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod. The Virginia Synod is headquartered on the Roanoke campus (in Bittle Hall; the college's first library now occupied by the Bishop of the Virginia Synod).

Historically, the state of Virginia has had a small Lutheran population. As a result, Roanoke has admitted many students from other religious denominations. Approximately 20 religious groups are now represented in the student body with Roman Catholic the most prevalent; Lutherans total less than 20% of the student body.

Roanoke has an active religious life program for students seeking that experience, however, religion is not prominent on the Roanoke campus; students are not required to attend religious services or to take classes in religion. Roanoke has an independent board of trustees and is not controlled by the church.

The dominant aspect of Roanoke's Lutheran heritage is the college's commitment to academic freedom. Martin Luther encouraged freedom from oppression along with freedom for learning and freedom for service in the community. Roanoke aims to produce resourceful and responsible citizens who are well-educated in the Lutheran tradition of intellectual freedom.


Roanoke is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor's degrees in arts, science, and business administration.[20] In addition, the business administration program is accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs; the chemistry program is accredited by the American Chemical Society; the teacher licensure program is accredited by the Virginia Department of Education; and the athletic training program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.[20]

Roanoke offers 34 majors, 30 minors, and 20 concentrations.[21][22] The college also offers dual degree programs with Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee that lead to a Roanoke degree and an engineering degree from the other school.[20] Each year, Roanoke invites approximately 35 incoming freshmen and first-term sophomores to become members of the Honors Program.[23] These students complete the Honors Curriculum in lieu of the Roanoke College Core Curriculum. Honors students are offered numerous special learning experiences including plays, lectures, concerts, and service projects.

Roanoke has 14 academic departments:[24]

  • Biology
  • Business Administration and Economics
  • Chemistry
  • Education
  • English
  • Fine Arts
  • Foreign Language
  • Health and Human Performance
  • History
  • Math, Computer Science, and Physics
  • Public Affairs
  • Religion and Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Sociology


Student Body

Trout Hall

Roanoke has approximately 2,000 students (55% female, 45% male) who represent approximately 40 states and 25 countries. Approximately 60% of the student body is from Virginia; the majority of out-of-state students are from Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. In 2009, for the tenth consecutive year, Roanoke received a record number of freshman applications, over 4,100 for approximately 550 openings.[25]


Roanoke has a tenure-track faculty of 120 (95% hold the highest degrees in their fields) plus a variety of adjunct professors selected from the business, political, and other communities for their subject matter expertise.[26]


Roanoke's Fintel Library, named after Dr. Norman Fintel, eighth president of the college, has a collection of over half a million items.[27] Roanoke and nearby Hollins University have a reciprocal borrowing agreement expanding the size of the library collection by another 300,000 items.[28]

Special Programs

Roanoke has several special programs that bring distinguished visitors to the college.

The Henry H. Fowler Public Affairs Lecture Series brings respected world leaders to campus. Guest lecturers have included former presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Lawrence Eagleburger, former Polish president Lech Wałęsa, former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt, former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and numerous other diplomats and public officials. In addition, the Copenhaver Artist-in-Residence Program brings visiting artists to campus, including theatrical productions, while the Charles H. Fisher Lecture Series brings distinguished scientists to campus.

Student Organizations

Roanoke has over 100 student organizations that provide learning experiences outside the classroom.[29] Students may choose from academic, cultural, religious, service, and social organizations including nine Greek organizations.[30]

The Student Government Association at Roanoke exists to give students a voice in the administration. It is the highest level student organization. It is made up of an executive council (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) and the Senate (21 members).[31]

Student publications and media opportunities include the Brackety-Ack campus newspaper,[32] a literary magazine titled On Concept's Edge,[33] the Roanoke Review literary journal,[34] and the student-operated radio station named WRKE-LP.[35] Intramural sports are also offered.[36]

Greek life


Roanoke has recognized chapters of nine social Greek organizations.[37]



Greek History

Roanoke has a long history of Greek organizations. The Black Badge Society, organized at Roanoke in 1859, was one of the earliest Greek organizations established in the South.[38] The fraternity became inactive at Roanoke in 1879, but had expanded to include chapters at eight other colleges and universities, the last of which became inactive in 1882.[38]

In addition to the Black Badge Society, Roanoke's inactive fraternities include:

Roanoke added sororities for the first time in 1955; the three organizations, Delta Gamma, Chi Omega, and Phi Mu, were housed in Bowman Hall for many years until they moved to Chesapeake Hall in 2006. Roanoke's newest Greek organization is Delta Sigma Theta, the college's first historically African-American sorority.


Roanoke's Greek organizations reside in college-owned housing. Roanoke's fraternity row, however, constructed in the 1960s, no longer houses the college's fraternities; the buildings have been converted into residence halls. The Greek organizations are now housed in various locations on the Roanoke campus. Kappa Alpha Order, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Chi, and Alpha Sigma Alpha have houses. Delta Gamma, Chi Omega, Phi Mu, and Pi Kappa Phi occupy Chesapeake Hall, a new residence hall that opened in 2006; each organization has a floor in the four-story building.

Student Participation

Roanoke's Greek organizations have a prominent role on campus, but are not dominant; approximately 25% of the Roanoke student body participates in Greek life. Freshmen students must wait until spring semester to join a fraternity or sorority. Roanoke has over 100 student organizations that provide many extracurricular opportunities other than Greek life.



The Administration Building

Roanoke's campus is relatively self-contained with most academic buildings and residence halls built around two quadrangles; the John R. Turbyfill Front Quad [44] and the "Back Quad".[45] Newer residence halls and athletic facilities form a partial outer ring around the traditional quads. The campus is lined with brick sidewalks and has been recognized for its landscaping and views of the surrounding mountains.


The campus architecture is a blend of traditional and modern styles. The Administration Building, constructed in 1848 with bricks made on-site, and five other buildings, Miller Hall, Trout Hall, Bittle Hall, Francis T. West Hall, and Monterey House, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[46][47][48][49] The Fintel Library, the Colket Student Center, and most residence halls have the traditional style of the older structures. Other newer buildings are more modern. These include Antrim Chapel, the science complex comprising Trexler Hall, Massengill Auditorium, and the Life Science Building, the fine arts building named F. W. Olin Hall, and the C. Homer Bast Physical Education and Recreational Center.[45]

National Register of Historic Places

Six college buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[46] Roanoke's four oldest buildings, listed as the Main Campus Complex, are the Administration building, constructed in 1848,[50] Miller Hall, constructed in 1857,[51] Trout Hall, constructed in 1867,[52] and Bittle Hall, constructed in 1879.[53] Francis T. West Hall (the former Roanoke County courthouse now named after a Roanoke alumnus), constructed in 1910,[54] and Monterey House, constructed in 1853,[55] are also listed.

Residence Halls

Approximately 65% of the student body resides on campus. Residence halls for freshman students include Bartlett Hall, Smith Hall, Crawford Hall, Marion Hall, Blue Ridge Hall, Shenandoah Hall, and Tabor Hall. Upperclass students reside in Afton Hall, Bowman Hall, Chalmers Hall, Wells Hall, Yonce Hall, Fox Hall, Catawba Hall, Augusta Hall, Caldwell Hall, Allegheny Hall, Ritter Hall, Chesapeake Hall, and Elizabeth Hall.

Wells Hall, Yonce Hall, and Fox Hall, known collectively as "The Sections", are Roanoke's most notable residence halls. Located on the Back Quad, the buildings were constructed in six stages from 1910 to 1958.[56]

Fintel Library

President's House

The President's House is in a residential district approximately one-half mile north of the Roanoke campus. The colonial revival mansion, one of the largest private homes in the area, was constructed in the late 1930s; was purchased in the mid-1950s by John P. Fishwick, president of the Norfolk and Western Railway and a Roanoke alumnus; and was acquired by the college in 1968. Presidents Kendig, Fintel, Gring, O'Hara, and Maxey have lived in the house.

Elizabeth Campus

Additional college facilities, mostly residence halls and athletic fields, are located on the site of the former Elizabeth College, a Lutheran women's college that closed in 1922. The area, approximately two miles east of the main campus, is now referred to as Roanoke's "Elizabeth campus". Houses for Kappa Alpha Order, Pi Kappa Alpha, and Alpha Sigma Alpha are on Elizabeth campus along with Elizabeth Hall, a large residence hall with apartments for non-freshman students.

The Back Quad with Alumni Gymnasium (left) and Colket Student Center (right)

College Avenue

Roanoke acquired three office buildings on College Avenue across from Francis T. West Hall in 2005 and 2006. The buildings have been renovated to provide classroom and office space for various college departments.[57 ] With the acquisitions, the Roanoke campus occupies both sides of College Avenue from Main Street north to the traditional campus entrance.

New construction

With the opening of three new residence halls in 2005, Caldwell Hall, Allegheny Hall, and Ritter Hall, known collectively as "CAR", the Roanoke campus has more than 50 buildings.[57 ] Chesapeake Hall, another new residence hall, opened in 2006.

Trout Hall and Miller Hall, two of Roanoke's oldest buildings, reopened in 2005 and 2006 after complete renovation and a new campus entrance, highlighted by a large colonnade, opened in 2005.

Donald J. Kerr Stadium, a 1,000 seat multi-sport artificial turf athletic complex, opened in 2007. The artificial surface complements the college's natural surface athletic fields. The field is used primarily as the home venue of the men's and women's lacrosse teams, but is also suitable for soccer and field hockey.

Roanoke began construction on a new freshman housing complex in 2007; three existing residence halls, Blue Ridge Hall, Shenandoah Hall, and Tabor Hall, have been renovated and enlarged to form the complex. The first phase opened in 2008 and the second phase opened in August 2009. Other 2009 projects include renovation of Lucas Hall, an academic building constructed in 1941; renovation of Afton Hall, an apartment-style residence hall; and continued planning of a new recreation and athletics center.[58][59]

Roanoke in Germany

Roanoke offers study abroad programs including the "Roanoke College in Wittenberg" spring semester in Germany. The program is a link to Roanoke's heritage as the second oldest Lutheran-affiliated college in the United States; Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation originated in Wittenberg where he posted the 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church. Roanoke professors provide the instruction; courses are offered in German language and literature, history, humanities, religion.


Roanoke is an NCAA Division III school competing in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.[60] The college fields varsity teams (known as "Maroons"; the college's athletic colors are maroon and gray) in nine men's and ten women's sports. Roanoke is particularly noted for the strength of its men's lacrosse program.


Roanoke athletics began in 1870 when the college fielded its first baseball team. The men's basketball program, added in 1911, received national recognition in 1939 when the team finished third in the National Invitational Tournament, the premiere postseason tournament of that era; and with more than 1,200 wins (almost 2,000 games played; better than 60% winning percentage over more than 90 years) is among the most successful in the nation. Frankie Allen, arguably the greatest men's basketball player in Virginia college history (2,780 points and 1,758 rebounds), graduated from Roanoke in 1971.

Roanoke teams have won two national championships: the 1972 NCAA Division II men's basketball championship and the 1978 Division II men's lacrosse championship. In 2001, Roanoke student Casey Smith won an individual national championship in the Division III women's 10,000m track and field event. In 2009, student Robin Yerkes secured Roanoke's fourth national championship when she won an individual championship in the Division III women's 400m track and field event.[61]

Roanoke teams have won 89 conference championships (as of May 2009; 42 in men's sports, 47 in women's sports) since the college joined the ODAC as a founding member in 1976.[62] Roanoke has won more conference championships than any other ODAC school in men's lacrosse (15), women's basketball (13), women's lacrosse (9) and softball (7).[63] Roanoke and Hampden-Sydney College are tied for the most conference championships in men's basketball (10).[63]

Recent achievements


Roanoke completed the 2006-2007 academic year with three ODAC championships, women's indoor track and field, women's outdoor track and field, and men's lacrosse.[64] Roanoke finished second in men's basketball, men's tennis, women's lacrosse, and women's cross country.[64] In individual action, Roanoke students won the Virginia Division III golf tournament, the Virginia Division II/III women's cross country championship, and the ODAC men's cross country championship.

The men's and women's lacrosse teams advanced to the 2007 NCAA Division III tournament quarter-finals, both were defeated by the number #1 teams in the country. The men's team, after winning it fifteenth ODAC championship, ended the season with 15 wins, which for the third straight year, tied the college record for wins in a season. The women's team, after finishing second in the ODAC, ended its season with 15 wins as well, the second most in team history.

The women's outdoor track and field team finished second in the 4x100 relay event at the 2007 NCAA Division III tournament; the team set a new college and ODAC record with their NCAA second-place time.[64]


Roanoke completed the 2007-2008 academic year with three ODAC championships, men's soccer, women's indoor track and field, and women's outdoor track and field.[63] The track and field championships were Roanoke's third consecutive in each sport. Roanoke finished second in women's soccer and women's lacrosse.

The men's and women's soccer teams advanced to the 2007 NCAA Division III tournament. The men's team lost in the opening round; the women's team lost in the second round.

The women's outdoor track and field team finished second in the 4x100 relay event at the 2008 NCAA Division III tournament; the team finished second in 2007 as well. Overall, the team completed the tournament in fifth place with the highest point total and highest finish in Roanoke history.[65]

Another significant achievement during the 2007-2008 academic year involved Susan Dunagan, head women's basketball coach who won her 500th game in November 2007.[66] She is the ninth NCAA Division III head coach to win 500 games. Dunagan has coached at Roanoke since 1981 and has led the college to thirteen ODAC championships, the most by any school in conference history.


Roanoke completed the 2008-2009 academic year with a national championship and two ODAC championships.[67] The national championship, Roanoke's fourth overall, was an individual championship by student Robin Yerkes in the Division III women's 400m track and field event.[68] The ODAC championships were in women's outdoor track and field and women's lacrosse. The track and field championship was Roanoke's fourth consecutive in the sport. Roanoke also won ODAC regular season championships in men's soccer, women's basketball, and men's lacrosse. The men's soccer team finished second in the ODAC losing to Virginia Wesleyan College in the conference championship.[69]

The men's and women's lacrosse teams advanced to the 2009 NCAA Division III tournament. Both lost in the second round. The men's team had a record-breaking season with a school record 17 wins and was ranked #1 in the country at the end of the regular season.[70] The men lost the ODAC championship in overtime to rival Washington and Lee University and then lost to Denison University in the NCAA tournament.


Roanoke teams compete in the following sports:


Roanoke's football program was discontinued during World War II after more than 60 years of competition.[71] Initially a club sport, the first varsity game occurred in 1892 against Allegheny Institute.[71] The final game was a 42-0 loss to Catawba College on November 13, 1942.[71]

In 1985, the Salem city government constructed an 8,000 seat stadium adjacent to Roanoke's "Elizabeth campus", two miles from the main campus, location of athletic fields and residence halls.[72] Constructed for Salem's public high school, many hoped the college would revive its football program and that the team would play in the stadium, but the college declined. The stadium hosts the annual NCAA Division III football championship even though Roanoke does not compete in the sport.[72]


Roanoke and Washington and Lee University have maintained a somewhat intense rivalry for more than a century. The rivalry is strongest in men's basketball and men's lacrosse. The relationship is fueled by a long history of athletic contests. They have competed in some athletic form or another since the 1870's. The rivalry is also influenced by conference affiliation and geography; the schools are charter members of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and are located within an hour drive of each other on Interstate 81. Both schools traditionally have nationally ranked men's lacrosse teams. Roanoke and Washington and Lee are usually ranked in the top ten when meeting late in the season.

Currently, Washington and Lee, Hampden-Sydney College, and Randolph-Macon College draw the most attention in men's sports. Bridgewater College and Lynchburg College draw attention in women's sports. All are members of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.

Roanoke and Virginia Tech were rivals in the late 1800s and early 1900s when Virginia Tech was a small college. In 1877, the schools competed in Virginia Tech's first intercollegiate baseball game (Virginia Tech won 53-13); and in 1896, Virginia Tech first wore its current athletic colors—maroon and burnt orange—in a football game against Roanoke.[73][74] In 1895, Roanoke and Virginia Tech were charter members of the now defunct Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Association along with Randolph-Macon College, the University of Richmond, and the College of William and Mary; and in 1926, Roanoke and Virginia Tech played the inaugural football game at Virginia Tech's Miles Stadium.[73][75]

School Colors

Roanoke has two sets of school colors, blue and gold for academic use and maroon and gray for athletic use.[76] This dates to 1907 when the baseball team needed new uniforms, but could not obtain any in blue and gold. Maroon and gray uniforms were purchased as a substitute. Within a few years, maroon and gray were adopted as Roanoke's official athletic colors. The college athletic nickname became Maroons as well. In recent years, black has been added as an accent color so Roanoke athletic uniforms are often maroon, gray, and black.

Nickname and Mascot

Roanoke's athletic nickname is Maroons and the mascot is Rooney, a maroon-tailed hawk.[77] The mascot was revealed on April 17, 2009 during annual alumni weekend festivities.[78] Roanoke has competed as the Maroons for over 100 years, but it was only a color without a mascot to represent the college.

In the press

U.S. News and World Report ranks Roanoke as a national liberal arts college,[79 ] the Princeton Review lists Roanoke among the "Best in the Southeast",[80] and the Templeton Guide names Roanoke as a college that encourages character development.[81] Roanoke is also listed as a "College of Distinction"[82] and in 2006, Men's Fitness magazine named Roanoke the 19th "fittest campus" in the United States.[83][84]

In 2005, George Keller, a noted American expert on higher education, authored Prologue to Prominence, A Half Century at Roanoke College.[15] Published by Lutheran University Press, the book documents the college's academic and financial success over the past half century. Other books about Roanoke College include The First Hundred Years, Roanoke College 1842-1942 by William E. Eisenberg and Dear Ole Roanoke, a Sesquicentennial Portrait, 1842-1992 by Dr. Mark F. Miller. The books were written as a part of the college's centennial and sesquicentennial celebrations.

Campus Activities Magazine named Roanoke the "2009 Campus of the Year" in recognition of the college's social and academic programs.[85] Roanoke was selected over four other finalists, Ohio State University, Central Michigan University, Boston University, and Marshall University.

The Roanoke Times reported in July 2009 that the Salem city council denied a college request to rezone an apartment building adjacent to campus.[86] The building was purchased in 2008, renamed Afton Hall, and renovated for student housing. The request would have allowed Roanoke to redevelop the site, and was denied after neighboring landowners voiced disagreement.[87] Roanoke will continue to use the building for student housing, but is limited in future development or significant changes to the site.

Notable alumni





Roanoke and the Railway

The Norfolk and Western Railway, now Norfolk Southern Corporation, has provided career opportunities for many Roanoke alumni; the NWR was headquartered in Roanoke until 1982 and is a major employer in western Virginia. Roanoke graduates who have advanced to leadership positions include Stuart T. Saunders and John P. Fishwick, former presidents of the NWR; John R. Turbyfill, retired vice-chairman, NSC; John S. Shannon, retired executive vice president, NSC; and William T. Ross, Sr., retired assistant vice president, NWR.

Roanoke has strong historic ties to the railway due in part to its alumni connections. The NWR named a Pullman car "Roanoke College" in honor of the college and Fishwick's Salem residence is now the college President's House. Saunders and Turbyfill served as chairman of Roanoke's board of trustees. In 2007, David R. Goode, retired chairman, NSC, endowed Roanoke's Center for Learning and Teaching in honor of his father, sister, and brother-in-law, all Roanoke graduates. [88]


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External links

Coordinates: 37°17′47″N 80°03′22″W / 37.29645°N 80.05600°W / 37.29645; -80.05600


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